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In an ideal world, my apartment would be full of charming architectural touches — molding on the walls and ceilings, built-in fireplaces, exposed brick walls — you get the picture. As a renter in New York City, I definitely had to make some sacrifices during the apartment search while hunting for a new place last summer. While I’m completely happy with where I ended up, my apartment doesn’t have the level of charm that I often swoon over when scrolling through home tours online or in my favorite magazines. So that simply meant that I had to take matters into my own hands.
I moved into my apartment in July 2021, but I wanted to live in the space for some time before making any major changes to my unit. By January, I decided to have the walls painted in Clare paint’s Grayish. The paint alone made a huge impact in my space, but I wanted to up the ante a bit by doing something even more dramatic.
My original idea was to incorporate picture frame molding on the walls, but installing molding was far out of my budget, and I wasn’t willing to go in for the splurge, particularly given that my space is a rental. Plus, the molding would be pretty difficult to remove down the line, making it even more of a no-go in my opinion.
Then I had another idea. While scrolling through Amazon looking for some renter friendly molding that wouldn’t run me nearly $4,000, I came across this beautiful faux wall molding. Picture frame molding continues to appeal to me, but this was unlike anything I’d ever seen faked in a rental before, and I knew I had to try it out. Believe it or not, this wall molding is actually made from styrofoam. I know, I know — but trust me; it looks amazing. If I hadn’t touched some of the material myself, I honestly would have been convinced it was wooden or plastic based on how nice it looks on the walls.
The carpenter I hired on TaskRabbit did an amazing job using a miter saw and the corresponding molding glue I purchased to perfectly cut each strip of styrofoam and adhere it to the wall. The whole project took him about five hours, making it perfectly manageable if you’re like me and don’t want to deal with days or even weeks of disarray in your apartment and repair people coming in and out.
After giving my TaskRabbit a large tip and bidding him farewell at the end of the day, I sat on my bed in awe. I truly couldn’t believe how much of a transformation the molding and paint combined had made. My bedroom finally had that chic Parisian feel to it that I wanted, and it really couldn’t have looked more different than it did when I first moved in (if you don’t believe me, just check out the before picture below for reference!).
This molding is renter-friendly, paintable, and can easily be removed at the end of my time in the apartment, but truthfully, I may ask my landlord if they’d like me to leave it up, assuming it’s still holding up well whenever I do decide to move out. Don’t you agree it adds all sorts of charm?